Whenever I tune in to watch a Malayalam film of the kind that someone like, say, Sathyan Anthikad directs. I always long to live in a village like the ones shown in those movies. The warmth, the familiarity and the homeliness that can be felt in these films is something you don’t really get to experience in a city life, where you don’t even know who lives next-door. Amal Neerad’s Varathan is also set in a village, but a village that is the antithesis of whatever I mentioned above.
This was one of those books that used to keep popping up on my Goodreads recommendations list, but I never bothered to check it out for some reason. But after the Netflix adaptation came out a while back, I kept hearing everyone raving about it. And as I always prefer reading the book before watching the movie, I decided to pick up the novel – just to see what all that hype was about. And I have to say I am glad I did it!
One thing I learnt from this movie (apart from the fact that ‘Smoking is injurious to health’) is that a not-so-good film is sometimes better in understanding an actor’s talent than a great film. It is easy for us to like an actor if he’s in a great film. But if that same actor can manage to keep you glued even as the proceedings on the screen get increasingly absurd, then that is proof of his talent. And that is exactly what Tovino Thomas shows us in Theevandi.
The Tamil and Telugu remake of the 2016 Kannada thriller U Turn is all set to release the coming week. I don’t know if I will watch the remake anytime soon, but I thought now would be as good a time as any to revisit the original. U Turn was the first straight Kannada film I ever watched, and it was SO GOOD that my interest in Kannada cinema piqued up, but I only started following Kannada cinema properly ever since I watched Kirik Party earlier this year. I had also come across the Tamil remake of another great Kannada film Lucia (also by the same director of U Turn) before watching this film, which was why I immediately decided to watch it when I found it on a flight.